Find The Top Things To Do And Places To Visit In Trentino-Alto Adige
Even though ubiquitous and offering a huge range of things to do, skiing, cycling, and walking in the Dolomites are not the only things to do in Trentino Alto Adige. We have spent three weeks in this beautiful region in northern Italy and explored it pretty thoroughly. Apart from the gorgeous Dolomites, we explored also many Trentino cities. Find out here how to make the most of your Trentino trip.
Among the best places to visit in Trentino, in fact, are not only the beautiful towns in the Dolomites. Some of the things we enjoyed the most were visiting cities like Trento, Bolzano, Merano, and Levico, as well as famous tourist resorts such as Riva del Garda. Find here some of the best cities in Trentino Alto Adige and what to do in each of them when planning your trip to Italy.[toc]
1. Visit Trento, the capital of Trentino Alto Adige
Your holiday in Trentino Alto Adige has to include Trento. Actually, you might as well spend here a couple of days or even make it as the base for exploring the region.
To visit Trento, two or three days would be enough, depending on how much you want to see. But if you are planning a longer holiday in Trentino, it makes for a great starting point as it’s well-connected with many other places by train and bus.
Here, you have a simple Trento guide with a short selection of some of the best Trento hotels.
How do you get to Trento?
You can get to Trento by train from Rome, Verona, Innsbruck in Austria as well as other Italian towns. You can reach Trento also by flight. The closest airports are Verona (the largest closest), Venice “Marco Polo” and Bergamo-Oro al Serio.
Top things to do in Trento
Castello del Buonconsiglio – Imposing castle conveniently located in the heart of the city, Castello del Buonconsiglio is one of the first places to visit in Trento. This was the sumptuous residence of the local prince-bishops from the 13th to the 18th century. Now you can visit the complex as well as the temporary exhibitions they always host.
MUSE – No trip to Trento is complete without a visit to the MUSE, the city’s huge Science Museum. Consisting of different topics and paths on each floor, you will explore the nature and history of the local Dolomites mountain range, the vegetation, the wildlife, as well as other environments like a loyal reproduction of a tropical forest. With several interactive activities, this is one of the best things to do in Trento with kids.
Palazzo delle Albere – Right in front of the MUSE entrance is 16th-century Palazzo delle Albere. Built as a villa stronghold, today it hosts several temporary exhibitions. Visit the different floors for some gorgeous frescoes.
Duomo di Trento – This is a must and one of the top landmarks in Trento. San Vigilio Cathedral is a Romanesque-style church devoted to the saint patron of the city. Of very ancient origins, don’t miss to visit the archaeological site in its underground.
Where to stay in Trento
High-end – Grand Hotel Trento
We stayed at Grand Hotel Trento for three weeks and it played a great role in our trip. This 4-star hotel in Trento features all the basic services and facilities and is a perfect family hotel in Trentino.
They have a nice spa with quite affordable treatments and sauna. The buffet breakfast is rich and offers both savoury and sweet options as well as fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, and hot drinks.
Rooms are spacious and comfortable, they include air-conditioning/heating system, the WiFi is free and fast, and the private bathroom modern and new.
Mid-range – Hotel Aquila D’Oro
A nice design accommodation in Trento close to the central Piazza Duomo, Hotel Aquila D’Oro is a sound and affordable choice. Perfect both if you want to make the city your base for exploring the region as it’s close to the train station and if you want to explore Trento as you can easily reach all the main landmarks.
This Trento hotel is nicely decorated and well-equipped with all the necessary amenities such as satellite TV, air-conditioning, free Wifi and a rich breakfast.
Budget – B&B Margot
A great option of budget accommodations in Trento is B&B Margot. A favourite among travellers, this nice bed and breakfast in Trento is a stone’s throw from the Duomo and a short stroll away from the train station.
The rooms feature basic facilities such as TV, heating, towels, wardrobe and mosquito net. The bathroom is shared. There is also a common area where guests can use kettle, microwave, coffee machine and fridge.
How to get to the Dolomites from Trento
Trento is a perfect city to organize some of the best day hikes in the Dolomites as well as fascinating tours to hear the sound of the mountains. From Trento, you can reach the Dolomites by bus, by taxi or renting your own car.
In Trento province is Val di Fassa, one of the main valleys of Trentino mountain range and important tourist destination in winter as well as for planning summer holidays in the Dolomites.
How do you reach Val di Fassa from Trento?
- By car. Take the highway Modena-Brennero, you can use Google Maps to reach stops like Canazei, Soraga or Moena. For an example of the route from Trento to Canazei click here. If you want to hire a car in Trento, click here to see the vehicles and car rentals available from Trento downtown.
- By public bus. Val di Fassa is very well connected to Trento via public transport with Trentino Trasporti. The direct bus line B101 departs from Trento four times a day and stops in important Dolomites stations like Moena, Soraga, Vigo di Fassa, Canazei, Alba di Canazei and Penia. Here you can check the timetables.
- By train. If you are in another region, take the train with Trenitalia and from the station take the bus. You can reach Trento with the direct train from Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice and many other cities.
Check here for prices and timetables.
From around the 20th of December all through March, both Trenitalia and Italo Treno on weekends organise a train+bus connection from Roma Termini to Canazei in Val di Fassa. Check out directly with the companies for timetables and tickets.
2. Visit Bolzano, beautiful city in the South Tyrol
Bolzano is a gorgeous city of Italy’s Dolomites. Its cleanness and great organisation perfectly convey that Austro-Hungarian sense that you won’t feel, say, in southern Italy.
Surrounded by the Dolomites it boasts a wealth of great things to see and do. Any season is perfect to visit Bolzano, one of the top places to see in Trentino Alto Adige.
How do you get to Bolzano?
Bolzano is easy to reach from Trento with less than an hour train ride. It’s also well-connected to other Italian cities such as Rome and Florence with Frecciargento Trenitalia direct train. You can reach also from Venice but you will need to change at least one train.
Some of the top things to do in Bolzano
Duomo – Its roof of green and golden hues makes it visible and majestic from afar. It was built in the 15th century in a Gothic style, but its origins are much older. It lies, in fact, on the site of three ancient churches, one early-Christian, one from the Middle Ages and one Romanesque style. A must and one of the first places to visit in Bolzano.
Ötzi and the Archaeological Museum – Ötzi is one of the main tourists draws in Bolzano. But who’s Ötzi? A man who lived some 4000 years ago. The famous Iceman found in 1989. Today we can see his mummy, carefully preserved in optimal conditions to avoid any type of deterioration. The city’s Archaeology Museum is organized all around Ötzi giving visitors a fascinating overview of his time, his habits, diet, clothes, weapons and all aspects of his daily life. Absolutely recommended.
Piazza delle Erbe – The square of the ancient city market of fruits and veggies, it translates into Herbs Square. Still today, like 800 years ago, many locals go there for grocery shopping. The market takes place every day except for the weekend, and it’s a great occasion to soak in local life.
Where to stay in Bolzano
High-end – Parkhotel Laurin
Art-Nouveau Parkhotel Laurin is set in an early 20th-century building and decorated with works of contemporary artists. Elegant and spacious rooms, they feature all the necessary facilities. Among the amenities of this Bolzano hotel are a restaurant serving regional and national dishes, a lounge bar, an outdoor swimming pool to enjoy in the summer and a large garden.
Mid-range – Il Battente 1862
Il Battente 1862 is a favourite accommodation in Bolzano for its central position and fantastic service. Boasting an elegant old-style decoration – think beam ceiling and antique furniture – one of the things guests love the most is the delicious breakfast.
Among the room’s amenities are a flat-screen TV, two private bathrooms with walk-in shower, a seating area, free WiFi, minibar, coffee and tea-making facilities.
Close to the city centre, nearby you will also find the Renon cable car ski lift.
Budget – Life Apartments in Bolzano
Located not far from the city centre, Life Apartments accommodation in Bolzano is nicely furnished and well-equipped with all the necessary facilities.
It features one bedroom, a living room with flat-screen TV, a kitchen complete with a washing machine, and a modern bathroom with hot tub. It’s pet-friendly and comes with free WiFi.
How to reach the Dolomites from Bolzano
Often called the “Gate to the Dolomites”, Bolzano is a perfect base for your Dolomites holidays. From Bolzano train station you can take the Renon cable car and reach the plateau for great views of the UNESCO-listed mountain range.
To better explore the Dolomites, you can book a full-day excursion from Bolzano with locals. You will visit and enjoy the scenery of stunning places like Carezza Lake, Ega Valley and Misurina Lake.
3. Get pampered in Merano
Famous for its thermal baths, Merano is a beautiful small city surrounded by the breathtaking Dolomites peaks. A favourite destination in Alto Adige for luxury wellness holidays, there are many things to do in Merano.
How to get to Merano
The easiest ways to get to Merano are by car and by train. If you are going by car, take BOLZANO SUD exit of the A22 highway (Autostrada del Brennero). Go towards Merano on the highway Merano-Bolzano and take exits MERANO MAIA BASSA or MERANO CENTRO.
If you are going by train, you will need to reach Bolzano and take one of the many local trains to Merano.
Top things to do in Merano
Terme di Merano – One of the places that make Merano famous all over the world, its thermal baths welcome everyone for a dip or a longer wellness holiday. Enjoy their pools, sauna and plenty of relaxing time.
Portici di Merano – Some 400 metres long, Merano’s covered walkways are the city’s shopping Mecca. Whether you feel like forking out good cash or just sitting and enjoy a drink, here you can find pretty much everything.
Trauttmansdorff Castle and Gardens – This is where Austrian Princess Sissi stayed for a couple of months for her daughter’s recovery. Displaying plants, flowers and trees from all over the world, this is an absolute must-visit and one of the best places to visit in Merano.
Best hotels in Merano
High-end – Hotel Therme Meran
A luxurious 4-star hotel in Merano city centre, this is a favourite for its location near the thermal baths. Modern facilities, a wellness centre with two swimming pools, a rich and diverse breakfast and spacious rooms are what guests’ love the most.
Mid-range – Hotel Garni Partaneshof
Surrounded by greenery and featuring its own swimming pool, this is a beautiful 4-star hotel some 20 minutes from Merano city centre.
The rooms feature satellite TV, air-conditioning, free WiFi, a private bathroom and a balcony or terrace.
Budget – Schwarzplatterhof
Schwarzplatterhof is a good option for budget accommodation in Merano as it’s a modern and well-furnished apartment with a garden and free parking space. It’s also in a convenient location whether you are in Merano in summer or winter as it’s only 2 km from the cable car that takes you to the local ski runs. Offering fantastic mountain views, it lies some 4 km from the city centre.
4. Immerse in nature in Riva del Garda
Lapped by the waters of the Garda Lake, Riva del Garda is one of the top places to visit in Trentino. It lies on the northern shore and one of the main tourist draws.
How to get to Riva del Garda
If you are reaching by car, from the Autostrada del Brennero highway A22 you take the Rovereto Sud exit and continue towards the lake. If you are coming by train, get off at Rovereto and from there take a bus to the lake and Riva del Garda village.
Top things to do in Riva del Garda
Garda Lake – Obviously the main tourist draw for Riva del Garda is the lake, Italy’s largest. In the warm season, you can enjoy activities such as windsurfing, canoeing, mountain biking, diving and climbing. In summer you can definitely linger on the beach and take a boat trip.
The place is popular also in winter because it’s close to Trentino’s Dolomites so you can easily reach some of the nearby ski slopes.
MAG Museo Alto Garda – Set in a medieval castle, it displays local archaeological finds and paintings from 19th-century artists who were enchanted by the views of the mountains dramatically dropping into the lake. Here you can travel through the ancient and more modern history of Riva del Garda and its lake.
Civic Museum – The ancient Rocca di Riva castle hosts the permanent and temporary exhibitions of the Civic Museum. You will learn about the local culture and history as well as important archaeological finds.
Top Riva del Garda hotels
High-end – Hotel Lido Palace
A state-of-the-art 5-star hotel in Riva del Garda, Lido Palace offers a modern wellness centre and spa that include sauna, Turkish bath and fitness centre. The rooms are modern and luxurious and the services include free parking and two fine restaurants.
The great and diverse breakfast and the fantastic views make this one of the favourite hotels in Riva del Garda.
Mid-range – Garda Life
Its position at some 500 metres from the shores of Lake Garda makes it one of the top Riva del Garda hotels. Among its amenities are the garden, the lounge, bike rental, a rich breakfast and modern rooms.
A comfortable stay and the exclusive location will make your Trentino holiday unforgettable.
Budget – GardaBreak Rooms&Breakfast
One of the favourite budget accommodations in Riva del Garda, GardaBreak has modern rooms, a garden and free WiFi and parking.
The rooms feature a flat-screen TV, a modern private bathroom with shower and complimentary toiletries. The apartments of this accommodation option have also a kitchen and a dining room.
5. Visit Rovereto
Rovereto is a great day trip from Trento. With a great choice of museums, churches, quaint alleys and castles, here you can spend even a nice couple of days. For sure, a day out in Rovereto is one of the things to do in Trentino during your holiday as it’s one of the main cities.
How to get to Rovereto
From Trento, getting to Rovereto is super easy. Trains leave Trento main station very often and the ride takes only 15 minutes. Rovereto is also a stop of the Frecciarossa from Rome to Trento, in case you want to head there directly.
Top things to do in Rovereto
MART Museum – This is the museum of modern and contemporary art and it’s very famous all over Italy. Counting some 20.000 masterpieces from modern art movements, the MART museum often hosts also temporary exhibitions.
War Museum – Rovereto, like all Trentino Alto Adige, suffered a lot from WWI. So it’s only natural that they devoted many memorials to this tragic event. Founded in 1921 in Rovereto Castle, the Museum of the Great War displays photos, uniforms and objects from life in the trenches.
Bell of the Fallen – The world’s largest bell is right here, in a tower of Rovereto Castle. After visiting the museum you can view the scenery from above as well as walk through images of the war. Every evening at 9.30 in summer (or 8.30 pm in Fall and wintertime) they play it. On Sunday they play at 12 pm.
Best Rovereto hotels
6. Levico Terme, a great day trip from Trento
Levico is another great day trip from Trento. Located in the Valsugana, it’s famous for its curative water and beautiful lake. Here you can spend a lovely day out walking in nature and enjoying a delicious meal on the lake shores.
How to get to Levico
If you are not in your own car, the best way to reach Levico is with a short train ride from Trento. Trains to and from Levico are several all throughout the day.
Top things to do in Levico
Levico Lake – The top tourist attraction in Levico is its beautiful lake. It makes for a wonderful summer holiday thanks to its small beaches and tranquil waters where you can canoe and enjoy the local wildlife.
Parco delle Terme – A great green oasis perfect for some relaxing time, walking and jogging, this is also where is the Grand Hotel Imperial, today luxury hotel but former summer residence of the Hapsburg.
Levico Thermal Baths – After the discovery of its curative arsenic-rich waters, Levico is a favourite destination for wellness holidays in Trentino.
Best hotels in Levico
Even though it’s an easy day trip from Trento, often travelers like to stay a bit longer in Levico to enjoy its thermal baths, views and curative water. Some of the favorite hotels in Levico Terme are Grand Hotel Imperial inside Parco delle Terme in the city center, Chez George apartment, and B612 near the lake.
7. Speak German in the quaint town of Bressanone
Bressanone is a beautiful historic town and one of the most pleasant surprises we had in the region. With many people speaking German more than Italian, typical Austrian-style architecture and a great organisation, Bressanone hardly feels Italy.
How to get to Bressanone
You can get to Bressanone easily by train from Trento and Bolzano. From Trento, you can find direct trains as well as with a change in Bolzano. The direct from Trento takes about an hour, while from Bolzano half an hour.
Top things to do in Bressanone
Duomo – The very first thing you should see in Bressanone is its Duomo. Majestic from outside, inside it’s amazing. Gold is the main hue, the style is undoubtedly an opulent Baroque and attached is a great cloister decorated with fine frescoes. An absolute must-see and one of the top places to visit in Bressanone.
Hofburg and Diocesan Museum – A huge collection of art in the royal apartments of Bressanone prince-bishops, a former ecclesiastical figure. Here the decoration, the tapestry, the typical old heater as well as the statues and paintings of the Diocesan Museum are well worth a visit.
Pharmacy Museum – A fascinating journey through the history of the pharmacy with a display of bottles, tablets, medicines, pots, tools and objects. One of the cool and lesser-known things to do in Bressanone.
Best hotels in Bressanone
While Bressanone can easily be a day trip from either Trento or Bolzano, it has enough charm and things to do to keep you there for more than one day. If you want to enjoy its ski slopes and have a relaxing holiday in this lovely town, some of the favorite Bressanone hotels are Hotel Gasserhof, Apartment Lodge Gasserhof, and Hotel Goldener Adler in the city center.
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Rome-based travel writer, blogger and photographer.